In this 5th part of marketing Video Tips, we will “listen” to our audio and “look” at our graphics.
Audio. Good audio is so important. If you are making your own video don’t rely on just a camera microphone. For the simplest Pieces to Camera, even an inexpensive tie clip mic from Maplin etc will give better sound by being closer in proximity and will eliminate “boomy” sound. HOWEVER, there is always a however… pros will often use mics costing several hundred pounds to get the characteristics and extra audio quality required as well as having a selection of different types for different situations, so there will always be limitations as to what quality can be achieved for “thirty quid”.
For narrations / voiceovers a microphone (even a camera mic, placed 12-18 inches from the “voice” will sound so much better than being four feet away. Whatever audio you record, LISTEN to it with headphones and make sure it is not distorting. Adjust the level to allow headroom for louder or emphasised words. Whilst lower level digital audio can be made louder, overloaded (distorted) audio cannot be salvaged.
Although it seems just common sense, make sure background noise is at minimum (definitely no radios in the background). Traffic and general office buzz may work on some situations but in others will not. It is easier to add background sound in post production, rather than having unwanted noises. If you are outdoors, wind noise can be a problem and so pros will have a variety of furry covers and gizmos to reduce this noise.
For corporate video a professional voiceover can enhance the production so much and need not cost the earth. An amateur voice can often sound just that!
Graphics. Any graphics that is to be used in a video – i.e. logos etc need to be at print quality – no web quality logos! A 37KB gif will look awful – if in doubt speak to the designer. Ideally a layered “.psd” (a Photoshop format) offers the most flexibility as you even have the chance to animate the layers which can look really classy.
Apologies but the next few points are a bit “techy”. If the graphic is to be used as an overlay with video underneath it will need to have an alpha channel and also resized to a video frame size (so that it fits) with the correct pixel aspect ratio (so that is not stretched or squashed). Often graphic designers, unless doing regular work for video are not always up to speed on these areas.
Two final points, small and fancy fonts and some colours don’t work well with video or get lost if overlayed above video due to colour clashes. Any graphics should be placed away from the edge of the video. So leave a minimum 10% safe area – if in doubt take a look at what the main broadcasters do (they have strict technical guidelines). Full explanations are beyond the scope of this article but start by getting good quality graphics and go from there.
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